Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Prime Time - The Next Food Network Star

I happened upon an episode of ‘The Next Food Network Star’ last night. I’ve never seen the show (you can look for my professional perspective if you visit my other blog, ‘Motor City Food’ in the coming days) when I heard one of the contestants describe a “prime” cut of steak as “the cut just under the quality of a filet.”


Enter the Mirepoix Cooking School class, ‘Meat Counter 101’, which will debut July 14. Many people enjoy a great steak, but do you know what makes a steak, well, great? What chefs know (unless they’re a contestant on ‘The Next Food Network Star’) is that all steaks are not created equal.

Why do steaks cost so much less at Sam’s Club and Costco, or Kroger, for that matter? Why does a steak at Holiday Market come with a slightly higher price tag? The reason is simple; our meat is “certified premium”; which is a classification that indicates the marbling, the grade, the regulation of antibiotics, as well as the age of the cattle at the time of slaughter.

There are several different grades of beef which are outlined by the USDA, which you can read about below.

Although there are eight levels of USGA graded beef there are generally only three USDA grades of beef that you would buy in a supermarket, a butcher shop or a restaurant. They are USDA Prime, Choice or Select which is the order of grade from the highest to lowest.

USDA Prime is the superior grade with amazing tenderness, juiciness, flavor and fine texture. It has the highest degree of fat marbling and is derived from the younger beef. That's why Prime is generally featured at the most exclusive upscale steakhouse restaurants. A prime steak isn’t a cut of meat like a tenderloin (filet), or a strip.

USDA Choice is the second highest graded beef. It has less fat marbling than Prime. Choice is a quality steak particularly if it is a cut that is derived from the loin and rib areas of the beef such as a tenderloin filet or rib steak. Generally USDA Choice will be less tender, juicy.

USDA Select is generally the lowest grade of steak you will find at a supermarket or restaurant. You will find it tougher, less juicy and less flavorful since it is leaner that Prime and Choice with very little marbling.

Mystified by all of the choices our Holiday Market meat counter has to offer?
Consider our Meat Counter 101 class. From beef, to lamb or chicken, this class will bring you the basics of the butcher shop and help you understand which cuts are best for which recipes and preparations. We’ll practice our knife skills, learn some basic butchery techniques and then prepare some of our favorite dishes featuring our selections from the Holiday Market Meat Shoppe.

To register, visit our websitea at

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Blogger amyerks said...

I love the "Food Network Star." Maybe you should try out??

July 26, 2010 at 9:13 AM 

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